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Do welfare magnets attract?

Author

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  • R. L. Hanson
  • J. T. Hartman

Abstract

Some scholars and many policymakers claim that poor people, in order to improve their lot, move to states that offer high welfare benefits. The authors test the validity of this claim using data from six Current Population Surveys: 1982-1984 and 1986-1988. They find no evidence to support the so-called welfare magnet hypothesis. Poor people do not move from one state to another to receive more public assistance. In fact, the poor hardly move from their home state at all. True, low-income persons who move to states with generous welfare benefits are more likely to go on welfare than are poor people who move to low benefit states, but their numbers are too small to affect a state's welfare expenditures. The authors also find that low-income people who already live in high benefit states are no more likely than the poor who live in low benefit states to participate in welfare programs.

Suggested Citation

  • R. L. Hanson & J. T. Hartman, "undated". "Do welfare magnets attract?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1028-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1028-94
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barr, Nicholas A & Hall, Robert E, 1981. "The Probability of Dependence on Public Assistance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(190), pages 109-123, May.
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    5. G. Acs, "undated". "The impact of AFDC on young women's childbearing decisions," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1011-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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    7. Russell L. Hanson, 1993. "Bidding for Business: A Second War between the States?," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 7(2), pages 183-198, May.
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    13. Robins, Philip K, 1986. "Child Support, Welfare Dependency, and Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 768-788, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1999. "Relative Capture of Local and Central Governments: An Essay in the Political Economy of Decentralization," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233624, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
    2. Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 391-409.
    3. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
    4. Hirasuna, Donald P. & Pulver, Glen C., 1998. "The Income Effects of Public Subsidies to Traded Services," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 28(3), pages 43-64, Winter.

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